In a recent workshop held by Peru’s Justice Ministry, Duberlí Rodríguez Tineo, president of Peru’s Transitory Criminal Court in charge of the appeal of former President Alberto Fujimori’s human rights sentence, announced that the appeal’s hearing has been set for November 23rd and 25th. Mr. Fujimori was condemned to 25 years in prison on April 7, 2009 for murder and kidnapping, which his lawyer appealed. At the hearing, the public prosecutor, lawyers for the victims’ families and Fujimori’s defense team will all be able to present their arguments for or against the sentence, which the court can then uphold, reduce or annul.
Rodríguez also told fujimoriontrial.org that Public Prosecutor José Peláez said he would need no more than four hours to present his arguments. The lawyers for the victims’ families, including Ronald Gamarra and Carlos Rivera, and Fujimori’s defense team have not yet specified the time they will need for their arguments.
Rodríguez explained that three days have been scheduled for this hearing to ensure that each party has ample time to speak, though this could conclude even sooner.
This hearing is decisive in Fujimori’s future since they will influence whether the court upholds, reduces or annuls the sentence issued by the Supreme Court’s Special Criminal Court. This sentence has been considered historic since it marks the first time a president is extradited and tried for rights abuses in his home country. Fujimori was found guilty for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres and for the kidnaps carried out in the Army Intelligence Service (SIE) basements during his first term (1990-1995).
Public Prosecutor Peláez and the lawyers for the victims’ families will argue for the 25-year prison sentence against the former president to be upheld and it is expected that Fujimori’s head lawyer, César Nakazaki, will argue that the trial lacked impartiality and request a new trial. If the sentence is annulled, a new trial would likely require more than a year and a half before issuing a sentence.
Rodríguez said that after the appeal’s hearing, the court will have 15 to 30 days to issue a verdict, implying that Fujimori’s fate will be decided before the end of the year.
In response to Nakazaki’s recent criticisms of his court, Rodríguez said that “each of us has a different role, [Mr. Nakazaki] has chosen his.”
He further assured the “absolute impartiality” of his court. “Whatever decision we make, we will be firm and secure that we are doing what is right,” said Rodríguez.